02 June 2010

Fun with FLORA

Although I've known about FLORA THE RED MENACE for sometime, until yesterday the only song I really know was the (pretty annoying) "Knock Knock", because it was featured on a Broadway compilation cassette(!) with a Kids! theme which we listened to on car trips for awhile. (Other songs I recall being on the cassette include "Waiting for Life to Begin", a Daisy Egan rendition of "Broadway Baby", and a track from the Constance Towers KING AND I.)  Well, yesterday, I listened to the OCR for the first time.  The show is mostly known for being Kander and Ebb's first Broadway show, and the show that made Liza Minelli a star (and a Tony winner).  I'm actually--and blasphemously--not a huge Kander/Ebb fan.  Everything sounds the same to me (vamps and kick lines), and I find their strongest work stems from them writing the same type of small-c cabaret styled songs that get meaning added to them via juxtaposition in concept musicals.  But I'm not here to belittle Kander and Ebb's deserved and sizable place in music theater history.  I'm really just here to show some FLORA related YouTube clips.  And say that FLORA, for the most part, actually sounds different than CABARET or CHICAGO.  Here's Liza singing one of her many wonderful numbers in a drastically different context...on THE MUPPET SHOW.

And here is Heidi Bilkenstaff singing "Sing Happy".  Lovely.

And here is Eden Espinoza singing a song that was added for that revisal in the 90s.  For some reason they put this in the place of the awesome "All I Need (Is One Good Break)", presumably moving the superior "Break" to another point in the show?  This song keeps the intro from "Break" and replaces it with something that sounds like every other Kander/Ebb song, which FLORA otherwise does a good job of not doing.  Sigh.  I will say, I find Eden to be quite charming here and wish there were videos of her singing material from this show that I like. 

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